Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

A Cautionary Tale

May 15th, 2016

I have neglected my blog for over a year now. I thought I would explain how I got out of the habit of blogging. My experience has a slight connection or two with sewing.

In February of 2015 I had the flame on the large burner of my gas stove top adjusted too high and accidentally caught the back of my shirt on fire. With the help of my husband, I extinguished the blaze in a few seconds, using the flexible hose from the sink.

I had to go to the emergency room, because I had extensive burns on my back. Although I had to see a plastic surgeon to be evaluated, I did not have to have any skin grafts.

It took over six months  for my burns to heal and my energy level was lower than normal for all that time. I got out of the habit of blogging and neglected blogging longer than I needed to. I am trying to return to blogging now.

I learned something about fabric from my fiery adventure. Cotton is very flammable. The back of my shirt was in flames in a matter of seconds. Here is a picture of the shirt I was wearing that day.


As you can see, there is a large hole in the back of the shirt. Now I understand why infants’ clothing is treated with a flame retardant. I think that fabric treatment is an excellent idea.

I also found a surprising use for my sewing skills. My husband had to apply a prescription cream to my back daily for several months. The plastic surgeon wanted the cream to be covered by bandages, but at first my back was completely covered with burns, so there was no place to tape the bandages. My doctor suggested that I buy very tight T-shirts and use the shirt to hold the bandages in place. It was hard to slip the shirt on without disturbing the bandages and the bandages didn’t stay in place very long.

I began experimenting with ways to sew the bandages to the back of the T-shirt. After trial and error, I tie-tacked the bandages onto the shirt back, using the technique that is sometimes used to hold the layers of a small quilt together. The surgeon’s assistant was very complimentary about my invention. She told the doctor that I sutured the bandages to the shirt.

I thought that her statement, using the surgical term for sewing, was a very kind analogy. I take pride and pleasure in my sewing skills, but my talent is nothing extraordinary. The really remarkable sewing in our day and age comes from the hands of a skilled surgeon. That type of sewing can heal wounds and save lives. I was glad to be able to make my own healing easier by using my sewing skill.

Please be very careful in the kitchen, especially around gas stove tops. Cooking is more dangerous than you think. Also, if you don’t know how, learn to sew. It will come in handy.


Using Doll Joints Safely

September 29th, 2013

At the end of last week’s discussion, my cloth dolls Kitty and Twinkle were waiting for their arms and legs. Kitty is eighteen inches ( 46 cm). Her pattern is found in my new book, Sewing for Large Dolls. Twinkle is six and one half inches (16.5 cm). Her pattern is found in my book, Sewing for Mini Dolls. If you are interested in finding out more about these books you can read about them on My Books page by clicking here.

I blogged about the safety of doll joints once before, but I think that the topic is worth more discussion. I looked up choking hazard size on Google. In the United States a cylinder tube that is 1.25 inches in diameter and between 1 and 2.25 inches deep is used to test toy safety. If an object fits inside the cylinder, it is considered unsafe for children three years old and under.

An assembled 35 mm doll joint will not fit into the cylinder and so it should be safe for a young child. Here is a doll joint that is about to be assembled.

I did not push the lock washer down the shaft, because I would not be able to get it off again. Here is the doll joint before it has been assembled.

The washer and the lock washer are both choking hazards. I have never been able to disassemble a doll joint once I had pushed the lock washer down the locking shaft. I have had to cut the joint apart using wire cutters when I incorrectly placed a leg on a doll. I believe that doll 35 mm joints are safe if they have been correctly assembled in the doll.

I used 35 mm doll joints to connect this Kitty’s arms as well as her legs, even though my pattern called for 30 mm arm joints. The 30 mm joint would be a chocking hazard even when it is assembled. I am going to explain doll joints to the parents of Kitty’s future owner. If they are concerned, Kitty will need to wait a few years to become a play doll.

Twinkle is a choking hazard and should not be given to a young child.

This discussion took longer than I expected. I’ll show you the assembled dolls next week.

Safety ,

Safety Concerns

February 24th, 2013

Recently, I had an email from a customer who was concerned about the safety of the doll joints used in constructing a Kitty doll. Her granddaughter is still a toddler and she is concerned about giving her a doll made with the doll joints. The joints seem fairly safe to me, but I don’t think that we should take chances with our children.

Usually, but not always the joints stay safely inside the doll. I had a joint pulled out of a doll by two girls (they were about nine years old) several years ago. We were doing an informal play and the girls were suppose to be fighting over the doll. I had used one of my research and development dolls that hadn’t met my standards for the play. I wasn’t upset about the doll, but the girls were. I had to spend some time reassuring them before we could continue.

The locked joints used for Kitty are quite large although they are made from three smaller pieces. I am not sure that the large locked joints are a chocking hazard, and once they are locked together they must be cut apart to be separated. I have never given an assembled doll joint to a toddler. I might be mistaken about how well the joints are locked.

In this day and age we can’t we sure of the chemical composition of plastic parts. The plastic joints might contain harmful chemicals that should not go in a child’s mouth.

The buttons used to string my small dolls and the tiny shoes that the dolls wear are definite chocking hazards. My small dolls should not be given to any child who still likes to chew on toys.